SEO Improvement

Simple SEO Tools to Diagnose Your Website

There are days where I feel like somewhat of an auto mechanic; instead of being asked to provide a diagnosis on a car that is in need of repair, I am asked to repair websites that have been neglected and just never had the basic maintenance done. Like a mechanic, I also use a bunch of tools to diagnose areas of a website that need to be fixed; to help improve website visibility and get it back in good repair.

With so many SEO tools out there which ones should you focus on using to provide a quick diagnostic of the health of your site?

The first SEO tool I like to use when reviewing a website is a plugin for FireFox.  Rank Checker from SEObook provides a quick, “on the fly” way to check a websites visibility and rankings in the search engines.  Once the plugin is installed you can open the program and type in the keywords you would like to check, along with the website’s URL. There are hundreds of tools that are similar, but this one is simple and easy to use.

Xenu’s Link Sleuth, is also a great tool to audit your website’s pages and have a comprehensive overview of your website’s URLs, Title Tags and Meta Descriptions. This tool can help expedite the process of where to begin by allowing you to see some basic SEO elements. Once familiar using this tool, Xenu can also be used to create a report that provides broken links and error pages found within your website, which I find helpful to keep your website in good working order.

The third tool I like to use to have a quick basic understanding of SEO page content is also a plugin for FireFox. Quirk SearchStatus gives a user a few options like page links and Meta info, but the most useful components are the keyword highlighting and keyword density of a page function. If you want to see how often a specific keyword is used and where it used, just enter the keyword and a pop up screen gives you the page’s content in relation to the keyword usage.

Using these 3 SEO tools will not solve all your SEO problems, and you will still need to determine how to resolve the SEO issues you uncover, but they are invaluable, and tools that I use every day to quickly assess a website and understand what is going on.

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Importance of Google’s Pay-Per-Click Quality Score

Quality Score is one of the most important factors that influence the success of your Pay-Per-Click campaign. Quality Score is measured and scored against a number of factors including; historical click-through-rates, relevance of an advertiser’s ad text and keywords, and the quality of your landing pages. Prior to 2005, Google used to rank keywords based on the highest keyword bid and other algorithms. But after noticing a higher conversion rate when keywords were more relevant with an ad’s text, Quality Score became the new way of rating ads on Google. I think this was a smart change because companies with exceptionally small or large budgets have equal opportunity to appear on Google’s first page search ranking as long as their ads are relevant. Since Google’s main focus is to make the searcher’s experience as user-friendly as possible, Google’s creation of the Quality Score metric was a very wise decision.

The impact of a high Quality Score means that your keyword will trigger ads in a higher position and at lower cost-per-click. On the other hand, having a low Quality Score is that you will pay more for each click just to maintain your ad positions. This leads to higher conversion costs and increased budget pressure. If your cost-per-click has steadily increased overtime, it’s time to evaluate your campaign and address the areas to help improve your keyword Quality Scores.

Whether your company is just getting started in AdWords or your organization has been utilizing Google to deliver ads to potential customers and prospects for a number of years, make sure your ads are relevant. By ensuring relevant ads to search queries, you will have a much better sense of control on your advertising costs.

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Google Quality Score

Google Webmaster Tools – A Quick Introduction to the GWT Dashboard

Back sometime in 2007, Google was continually rolling out new features into what is currently known as Google Webmaster Tools. Over the years Google Webmaster Tools ( GWT ) kept providing more insight into what Google knows about your website including search and link stats, found issues, and even site performance metrics.

This post is to serve as a quick introduction to the Google Webmaster Tools dashboard and help provide an understanding of what those dashboard metrics mean and how you can begin to take action and help contribute to your company’s SEO effort.

The Google Webmaster Tools dashboard is laid out in a comfortable and well-know Google format – highlighted website KPI’s occupy the right 2/3 of the  screen, and simple navigational aids anchor the left-hand side of the screen. The key pieces of information that Google shares with a webmaster tools user are the following reports; the Search Queries, Crawl Errors, Keywords, Links, and Sitemaps. Each report can help you identify weaknesses (and strengths) in your website, as well as help guide your ongoing SEO effort.

Search Queries Report
The Search Queries report provides a 30-day snapshot of impressions and clicks that occurred with your site when a Google search engine user typed in a search query in its search box. You can then drill down into more specific data about where your site ranked when it was visited. This is important for understanding how your site ranks on specific keyword searches, its visibility and how it is helping to drive visitors to your site.

Crawl Errors
If your site lacks visibility in the search results page, the Crawl Errors report can help you identify the pages within your website that Google is having trouble with. These reports can help your IT staff identify pages that are not found, unreachable or even restricted to be crawled and indexed by Google. Investigate the issues and work with your site administrator to resolve as many issues as possible.

Keywords
The keyword significance report relays information about the most weighted keyword found within your site. The weighting of the keyword is derived from its use in content within the site and the inclusion of the keyword into the HTML elements found within your website. If your company’s “shortlist of desired keywords” are not appearing near the top, it is time to reevaluate your content and website structure.

Links to Your Site
Google is much more transparent once you are a verified user and site owner in GWT. The inbound link report or Links to Your Site is the current number of trusted links pointing to pages within your website. It is not uncommon for your homepage to have the most number of inbound links pointing to them, but this report can also help you identify the high value SEO pages that have a disproportionate low number of  links.

Sitemaps
Google wants to know about your pages contained within your website. By submitting a sitemap in a GWT supported format, you can provide Google with a list of the pages that should be indexed and shown within the search results pages. Once your sitemap is submitted, the dashboard will highlight the number of pages indexed. This can help you find your submitted website pages to indexed pages ratio. Knowing this information can help map areas of your site that are being indexed as well as help encourage Google’s crawl bot to index new pages.

The Webmaster Tools Dashboard is essential for marketers and webmasters to begin to understand how Google views your website and the areas that need attention or focus to make improvement and strides into your website’s visibility and SEO effort.